China stocks lead advance in Asia

Agencies, Taipei and HONG KONG

Sun, Nov 04, 2012 - Page 15

Asian stocks rose this week, led by Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies, as reports on US employment, manufacturing and consumer confidence added to signs the world’s largest economy is recovering.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index gained 3.7 percent for the week, capping a more than 20 percent gain since a Sept. 5 low and entering a bull market after China’s manufacturing expanded for the first time in three months.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.8 percent to 122.56 this week, erasing a 0.4 percent loss last month. Raw-material shares and information-technology companies gained the most this week among the 10 industries tracked on the gauge.

“Global indicators are starting to show an improvement in momentum, particularly in the US,” said Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. “This can be sustained if central banks keep supporting growth.”

The regional benchmark has gained 7.7 percent this year as central banks in Europe, the US, Japan and China added stimulus measures to counter a global economic slowdown and the European debt crisis. The index traded at about 13.4 times estimated earnings on average, compared with 13.7 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and 12.3 for the STOXX Europe 600 Index.

In Taiwan, the TAIEX extended its gains for a second day on Friday and closed the week up 1.06 percent at 7,210.47. Buying focused on the old-economy sector, which had been a market laggard, from high-tech stocks that had outperformed the broader market in recent sessions, dealers said.

However, gains were capped by technical resistance, as profit-taking emerged after the index breached the 7,200 mark, while turnover remained thin with many investors on the sidelines, they said.

“The local bourse is likely to keep moving in a narrow range until political uncertainty in the US is removed,” Concord Securities (康和證券) analyst Kerry Huang said, referring to the presidential election on Tuesday.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 2.6 percent to 22,111.33, its highest level since Aug. 2 last year. China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.5 percent. Shares have risen on speculation China’s economy may be stabilizing after a report showing the manufacturing industry growing for the first time in three months last month.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.3 percent to 9,051.22, its highest level in six weeks, on higher-than-average trading volume as the yen weakened. South Korea’s KOSPI gained 1.4 percent to 1.918.72, the biggest weekly increase since Sept. 14.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.3 percent to 4,460.1, falling for a second week after a report showed the nation’s manufacturing output contracted for an eighth month. Singapore’s Straits Times Index lost 0.5 percent to 3,042.7.

In other markets on Friday:

Wellington closed 0.45 percent, or 17.81 points, lower from Thursday at 3,914.08.

Mumbai rose 1.04 percent, or 193.75 points, to 18,755.45.

Manila was closed for a public holiday.